European vs. Brazilian Portuguese

Falamos a mesma língua? By Alexa Boyce
Many people wonder what the difference is between learning Spanish in Latin America vs. learning it in Spain. The answer is: there isn't one, except a few slang words and general accent differences.
Perhaps the more interesting question is: what is the difference between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese? When I was in Spain studying Spanish, one of my classmates was a Brazilian named Roberta who claimed she could not understand a word of European Portuguese. In fact, very few people who attempt translation between the two are able to avoid even the most basic mistakes. Despite obvious similarities in grammar and vocabulary, most native speakers of one branch will need some formal study in order to understand the other. "The two languages are not mutually intelligible to any practical extent," states Wikipedia.
In my experience, those who speak Spanish and Italian have an easier time understanding each other than those who speak different forms of Portuguese. Roberta recalled for me once a story that she was speaking with some Euopean Portuguese and attempted to relate that she had to call her mother. Unfortunately for her, the Brazilian Portuguese word for "to call" translated closer to "to have intercourse with". Needless to say, that caused a slightly awkward moment.
Portuguese is the sixth most spoken language in the world, and is a major or official language in at least 20 countries. Portuguese is officially spoken in Portugal and Brazil, obviously, as well as in African countries such as Mozambique, Angola, Sao Tome e Principe and Guinea- Bassau. It is also the co-official language (along with Chinese) in SAR in Macau and Tetum in East Timor in Southeast Asia. With the exception of Brazil, they all speak European Portuguese.
According to Wikipedia, "Within the two major varieties of Portuguese, most differences between dialects concern pronunciation and vocabulary." Below are some examples:
Words for bus
Angola & Mozambique: machimbombo
Brazil: ônibus
Portugal: autocarro

Slang terms for to go away

Angola: bazar – from Kimbundu kubaza – to break, leave with rush
Brazil: vazar – from Portuguese "to leak"
Portugal: bazar – from Kimbundu kubaza – to break, leave with rush
Words for slum quarter
Angola: musseque
Brazil: favela
Portugal: bairro de lata or ilha.
This page is a very informative and comprehensive site for more information, dictionaries and translation services.

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